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Rafael M.T.Therapist
Rafael M.T.Therapist, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 3055
Experience:  MHT-MHRS-MS-MA Integral Psychotherapist & Life Coach
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Does my partner have borderline personality?

Resolved Question:

Does my partner have borderline personality? He is very unpredictable and lashes out over tiny things. He can stay in a bad mood for weeks then suddenly snap out of it and behave as if nothing happened. He has said some very hurtful things to me when hes angry and then behaves normally as if it was nothing. He has become worse since we moved in together and its at the point where I feel I am on eggshells with him. 

Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Rafael M.T.Therapist replied 1 year ago.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Hello, I am Rafael. Thanks for asking your question - I'm here to support you. (Information posted here is not private or confidential but public).

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I am sorry to know about this serious situation.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Could you tell me more about his behaviors, for me to better understand his problem?

Customer:

Thanks.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

You're welcome.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Does he use to have a tough time developing and keeping healthy relationships with people?

Customer:

He is quite moody. if something is bothering him he wont talk to me about it but he is quite difficult to be around. He spent nearly 3 weeks recently going between completely ignoring me or being hostile

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I see. Does he present risky behaviors or does not think good enough about consequences?

Customer:

He seems a lovely person, friendly, kind, generous to most people. I think only those that are closest see the other side

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Has he ever hurt himself?

Customer:

he doesnt really have risky behaviours, just unpredictable. You cant judge will he be willing to talk thinbgs over or bet angry if I try to talk to him

Customer:

no, he has never hurt himself to my knowledge

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Do you think one of his core issues and biggest fears is about being abandoned or rejected, being alone?

Customer:

Maybe. It seems at the moment that our relationship is in a really bad place. I have told him this is how I feel but he seems to brush my concerns aside

Customer:

He seems to want to stay in the relationship even though it feels quite bad and neither of us is really happy

Customer:

and he seems unwilling to admit it isnt healthy

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I see. Last question: do you know if he has ever experienced hallucinations or believes things that are not real at all but get distorted in his mind?

Customer:

He has never told me anything like that

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Thanks. For how long have you been together and for how long has he been this way?

Customer:

We were very good friends before getting together as a couple. He persued me first about 4 years ago. We have always been on and off. We have been together this time for over a year

Customer:

From the start when we became romantically involved he has blown hot and cold

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I understand. Everything you describe could be present in people with borderline personality disorder but many other typical symptoms do not appear to be present. The only way to know for sure is by a direct and complete psychological assessment. What seems obvious to me is that he has a serious anger problem, and most times behind that people also present depressive mood and anxiety problems. Many people present borderline personality traits without presenting the whole disorder clinical criteria.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Thus it seems obvious to me that because of the emotional and verbal abuse his anger problems present, it is essential for him to get professional psychotherapeutic support to work on personal issues, leading to marital problems and issues around socialization, coping and self-control.

Customer:

He also grew up around someone with bipolar disorder.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

You would need to set healthy and clear boundaries and limits, after assessing what you are willing to afford or not in this relationship, hoping he would take your assertive confrontations in a responsible way and look for support, otherwise it would be very hard for your situation to significantly improve.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Most times people presenting these serious issues were raised in dysfunctional families, where abuse and / or neglect were overwhelming, and many times there is also history of mental illness.

Customer:

Thank you. I have asked him to consider couple counselling, he says he will think about it but I feel he is only saying that to appease me in the short term

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I believe couples counseling could beneficial, but it would be useless if he does not work on his personal issues first, rehabilitating from any disorder he may suffer, since only then he would be able to play a healthy and responsible role in relationships.

Customer:

That makes sense. I dont really see him being willing to admit his behaviour is wrong in any way

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

You're very welcome. Please reassess your main needs and expectations in this relationships, be clear about them with him, set healthy boundaries and limits and before anything, take good care of yourself without allowing any form of abuse, neglect or manipulation.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Without him acknowledging and holding full accountability for his own choices and actions, nothing healthy could arise from such approach, and it would be unrealistic and self-sabotaging to wait and expect for things to be fine, because time and codependent passivity would only fuel further abuse and dysfunction.

Customer:

I have stopped trying to work things out with him since he last said something hurtful to me a few weeks ago. He has been behaving normally since then, acting like things are alright between us. He must know they are not alright with me but he hasnt even apologised.

Customer:

I am not even sure how to leave him without him getting angry and possibly then plagueing me with phonecalls to try to get me back. It has happened before

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I see, manipulation is clearly a core issue here and it should be confronted and not allowed at all. Please do not expect him to be respectful, caring and understanding, even less supportive whenever you try to do something healthy and to take better care of yourself, even less if it is about leaving. I do not believe that would happen at all, but it would trigger further abuse and harassment,a but you'd need to face reality and cope with it sooner or later, and the more you delay it the harder it would be. please look for help from your support system and ideally from on individual counseling, since this is a tough process and you need all the support you could get to make it work.

Customer:

Thank you. I have started seeing a counsellor recently

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Please read about codependency and seriously consider joining a local support group for codependency besides of getting individual psychotherapy; that would be the best approach to ensure you get all the tools to make these necessary changes work for you without exposing yourself to further manipulation and abuse.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

You're very welcome. Thank you for your trust.

Customer:

Thanks. I will read about codependancy. Thanks for the information and advice

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Then please commit to it and consider the support group. You need and deserve to have an enjoyable life without abuse or neglect. Please work on it. You're very welcome. Please take gentle care and consistent action.

Customer:

I will see if I can find a local support group. In the past when Ive left I tell myself I will never go back again but he seems like his old self when he tried to get me back. He is communicative and gentle but then when we are together he is distant and dismissive

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Right, very manipulative and it shows how much you need to work on rehabilitating from codependency, thus your counseling work should be focused on that, plus the extra help from a support group (CODA.org).

Customer:

Thanks I will look that up.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

You're very welcome. Take gentle care.

Customer:

thank you :)

Rafael M.T.Therapist, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 3055
Experience: MHT-MHRS-MS-MA Integral Psychotherapist & Life Coach
Rafael M.T.Therapist and 2 other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  kerri replied 1 year ago.
Hello. It is possible that there is a combination of factors causing your boyfriend to behave this way. It is possible that he has a personality disorder, but it's not useful to speculate when a direct interview cannot be conducted with the person in question. The following provides an option that you may or may not be able to consider : Perhaps your best option, before too much more time transpires, might be to seriously consider separating and making any return to him, conditional. The conditions are ones you make, given that you are the one so negatively affected by the way he treats you. Plan where you can go for a while and get the support of people/friends or family where possible. Make a written list of the reasons you are parting company at this time and make it available to him either before you go or after if that's easier for you. Let him be the one to make the next move, as you already mentioned he tends to chase after you, but you know now that his kindness is short-lived. So when he does phone you, you have prepared in advance exactly what it is you need to tell him and one of those things is that you cannot return to life with him under the same circumstances as it is unhealthy for you. Secondly, that he complies with your suggestions to seek appropriate professional help for his mood swings and anger and thirdly, that you intend to get on with your own life in the meantime. If and when he can show you hard evidence of having obtained the help he needs, you will by then, be far more empowered, more confident in your decision-making and will be better able to assess whether you actually want to continue a relationship with him or not. Be aware, that despite rehab, counseling and other forms of support, your boyfriend may continue to be unpredictable. If this is the sort of risk you are prepared to take, then there will always be a possibility for a relationship with him. However, by the time he has travelled his road to recovery and greater awareness of how his behaviors impact on others, you may well have found someone else who can provide a lot more security for you emotionally, and that's very important.

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